Monday Movie: Splice by @V_for_Vienetta

Directed by Vincenzo Natali and executive produced by Guillermo Del Toro, Splice tells the story of a pair of rebellious young scientists who take their DNA-splicing escapades one step too far and create… dun dun dun… a monster.

First off, Splice is VERY adult sci-fi. What starts out as a typical monster movie quickly goes way beyond the typical boundaries of the genre, dealing with situations and subject matter that can be particularly uncomfortable. It does briefly slide into a typical monster-on-the-loose finale in the third act, which reminded me of The Fly 2, but this is quickly reigned in and turned on its head.

Adrien Brody and Sarah Polley serve as great leads throughout - both going through conflicting arcs of love to hate and hate to love with regard to their creation. The sudden changes in Poley's damaged scientist are a particular standout and Brody's nose is also on fine form. They manage to not feel like pretend scientists (*shudders remembering Denise Richards as Christmas Jones*) though their combined abundance of slogan Ts came close to overwhelming. The show stealer, however is the adult "monster", Dren,  played by Delphine ChanĂ©ac. She does some breathtaking work, on a par with Doug Jones, and is definitely one to watch.

The FX work is excellent. Dren is by turns gross, cute, beautiful, deadly and heartbreaking. The various creature designs are also original and surprising. The ever-awesome KNB are responsible for the practical stuff and, from the credits, it seems a different effects house is responsible for each of Dren’s forms. Her life cycle flows nicely and her changes in form are so well done that they don’t jar you out of the film.

It’s not often a monster movie comes along with such excellent performances, FX and tackles such important themes and topics. I highly recommend it. I also get the terrible feeling that, because it’s hard to categorise and deals with some tricky topics, its release may be fairly limited, so keep them peeled and see it sooner, rather than later.

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